Monday, June 19, 2006

Soccer-crazed Country Grinds to a Halt.

Fine, so 2 billion people like the World Cup. Reading this posting at ExSemgirl's blog makes me wonder how the stock market in England can come to a grinding halt because of a football match?

On the bright side, I hope there's less anti-semitism there as a result of their once-every-four-year wonderful expression of national harmony and brotherhood.

Should Jews get overly caught up in their national sport? Or their nationality?

I'm reminded of the following true story I read a few years back:

"G-d will Fight for You" [Shemot 14:14]

by Eliyahu Misgav

The war fought by England in the Falkland Islands has almost been forgotten. However, in this war as in others in the past, the participants included Jews, on both sides.

The following happened close to Tu B'Shevat, in the winter, when there is not much plant growth, but on the other hand some trees are filled with glorious blossoms. A company of British soldiers was sent to clean out an area that had already been captured from the Argentine fighters. The soldiers were ordered to conduct a careful search to make sure that nobody was hiding in the bushes or the trees. They spread out in the area, with a constant distance separating them. They went in straight lines, completely covering the area in a well defined grid. They walked with guns at the ready, bullets in the chambers, and fingers on the trigger, ready to fire.

Suddenly, one of the British men saw an Argentinean soldier hiding in a bush. He pointed his rifle at the man, but at the very last moment before firing he heard him start to recite the words, "Shema Yisrael..." The Argentinean was a Jewish soldier by the name of Rami. When he saw death staring him in the face, he instinctively began to recite the Shema.

The British soldier, who was also Jewish, stopped his finger a hairsbreadth before firing the gun. In Hebrew, he said, "Baruch shem kevod malchuto..." - may His holy name of authority be blessed forever - and he continued on his way, without saying anything to the other soldiers.

And Rami, completely unnerved by the miracle that he had experienced, took an immediate oath to move to Israel and to strengthen his bond to Judaism. He will soon finish his studies as a rabbi.

(With thanks to Rami Avigdor.)

I guess it's OK to root for England or one's country of birth even if it isn't Israel -- just as long as, at the end of the day, we realize where our interests really lie.

Wherever I am, my blog turns towards Eretz Yisrael


Sarah Likes Green said...

wow... got chills from that story. amazing.

i'd rather the country i live in and other countries battle it out on the soccer field, kicking around a piece of leather, than on a battle field with weapons.

Sarah Likes Green said...

(clicked ok to post by accident, before i finished comment!)

so i think it's ok if you want to get caught up in sport a little as long as you remember what's really important.

exsemgirl said...

Hrumph =D!

So you approve?? No more teasing??


Jameel @ The Muqata said...

Sarah: Yes, it's a great story.

XSG: approve? No more teasing? Football is still silly! :)

Anonymous said...

Jameel, this "I hate fottball me" obsession of yours is getting really tedious. You're like some girl who has to ring her ex every 10 minutes to tell him just how over him you are.

Yellow Boy

Anonymous said...

Obviously that should read "football". I don't know what "fottball" is, but it sounds feintly rude.


FrumGirl said...

What an incredible story!!!!!!

And this football craze has gotten out of control!

Search the Muqata


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